A Japanese warship assigned in direct support to the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) counter-piracy task force, CTF-151, has saved the lives of six fishermen in the Gulf of Aden.
The Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force ship Harusame, currently operating as part of Thailand-led CTF-151, received information from fellow Japanese warship JS Amagiri,that a disabled fishing vessel had been spotted off the coast of Djibouti, around 32 nautical miles from Yemeni territorial waters. JS Harusame proceeded to the last known location as soon as they received the information in order to provide assistance.
On arrival, the Japanese crew found six fishermen onboard the vessel who, after identifying themselves as Yemeni fishermen, informed the naval personnel that their engine had broken down three days previously and they had been drifting since then. Commander Masanobu Takasuga, the Commanding Officer of JS Harusame, immediately offered to tow the vessel back to Yemeni territorial waters.
Meanwhile, CTF-151 had been in close contact with the Yemeni Coast Guard, who arranged to send a ship to meet the JS Harusame at the outer limits of their territorial waters to take control of the fishing vessel. All proceeded to plan and the fishermen were returned home safely.
Rear Admiral Pakorn Wanich from the Royal Thai Navy and currently Commander of CTF-151 said:
“The sea can be a very dangerous place and it is the duty of every mariner to assist any vessel and crew in danger. I am very grateful to the Commander of Japanese Escort Division 2 who raised the alarm and, of course, JS Harusame’s Commanding Officer and crew for their professionalism and dedication to the customs of the sea.”
CTF-151 works with international organisations such as NATO and the European Union, as well as ships deployed independently from nations around the world, to counter-piracy on the high seas.